A movie’s performance at the box office gets plenty of attention. Some people were very impressed when “Avatar” became the most profitable movie in Hollywood history (and it still is). Others gasped when the big-screen adaptation of “Cats” bombed in domestic theaters despite a star-studded cast featuring Taylor Swift and Jennifer Hudson.
What’s the biggest box-office bomb of all time? Here we have tried to answer this question. Using data on worldwide box office and production costs from film industry data site The Numbers, 24/7 Tempo compiled a list of 40 movies that lost the most money when comparing their box office gross to their production budgets. From this, we took the film with the worst numbers.
It seems there is never a guarantee a movie will do great at the box office. Some directors count on recognizable names in Hollywood to attract moviegoers. Yet, the list of the biggest film flops includes A-listers such as Christian Bale, Angelina Jolie, Chris Rock and Reese Witherspoon.
Similarly, no genre appears to be a safer bet for turning a profit. The list of the movies that lost the most money is very diverse. It includes everything from time travel thrillers to romantic comedies and historical dramas based on true events.
“Mars Needs Moms,” released in 2011, is the biggest flop in Hollywood history. Some details:
- Loss: $110,450,242
- Production budget: $150,000,000
- Worldwide box office: $39,549,758
- Starring: Seth Green, Joan Cusack, Dan Fogler
- Directed by: Simon Wells
In the film, a nine-year-old boy is trying to save his mother from Martians who kidnap her, and he gains a new appreciation for her during his rescue journey. Some critics have described the movie as a mess and an interplanetary clunker.
Our methodology: As mentioned, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on worldwide box office and production costs from film industry data site The Numbers to determine the biggest movie flop ever. Films were ranked on the difference between total worldwide box office gross and production budget, with the films with the largest losses ranking at the top of the list. Data on the domestic box office also came from The Numbers. Supplemental data included the number of reviews and overall rating of each film on the Internet Movie Database, as well as audience score and Tomatometer ranking from Rotten Tomatoes. Data was collected in April 2021.